Enjoy Madagascar: a view from those who haven’t been there
Ok, I know people would tell me “why the heck didn’t you go there instead of ranting on the internet”. I do agree, don’t worry, Madafan attends this Enjoy Madagascar salon that has begun yesterday at Futura exhibition park- Andranomena. The event will end this sunday (so you still have time to go and see what are the travel offerings if you happen to be in Antananarivo)
However, since the author can’t personally move from his house (for technical reasons), I just wanted to crawl the internet seeking for infos about what’s happening during this event. As I just participated into live-blogging and live-tweeting (with other bloggers fellow) last week-end, I just hoped that the some real-time online coverage will also be seen for Enjoy Madagascar 2010.Given my experience with last years’ edition, I wasn’t expecting a lot of online presence for this year – frankly, I don’t understand people attending such event which aim is to boost the tourism sector and who are so used to answering to desk-request that they don’t even think of outreaching outside the small number of people who made the trip to Andranomena. Most of the participants have made serious investment for attending this event, so why the heck don’t they go the last mile of outreaching through the internet? As Erik Hersman rightly pointed out during last week’s event, “we must own our narrative”.
Some may say that it’s a cost of technology constraints that don’t push them on doing so. Well, I’m sorry guys, but I’m pretty sure you all have seen how other people in other context do it (just look at how Madagascar political news spread on the internet) – they aren’t geek at-all – just plain simple citizens who want to have their voice heard – why the hell tourism players can’t (or don’t) do that? So forgive me if I don’t abide to the excuse “we’re not well-versed into this technology thing” – I bet you all read your e-mail every now and then. Moreover, this salon has its own website – for God’s sake, if you have decided to do it, please do it well, don’t just do it because some guys have convinced you that having a website is “in” – how can you trust a salon that still title “salon du tourisme 2009″ on his website while we are in 2010 edition; a website that proudly has a forum feature that has “0″ (NIL) messages (guys, let’s be serious, just shut this forum down). I know having organized such an event despite the current situation deserves a standing ovation, and don’t get me wrong, I do acclaim you for having achieved that- but for God’s sake, do things seriously or refrain from implementing it if you are not comfortable with (I’m referring to the online presence here). But back to technology constraints, I think we have no excuse at all not to report what’s happening in real-time (or at least by the end of the day):
- mobile phone companies all have mobile internet offer: some even allow you to be connected on facebook for 500 MGA/month (that’s USD 0.25/month), another operator allows you to be connected on facebook via SMS. There’s even competition on the mobile phone market to get people use facebook from their mobile phone. Another mobile phone operator also allows you to use twitter through SMS so that you don’t need to have a state-of-the-art handheld in order to be able to tweet – a plain simple GSM that can send SMS can do it (want more details, read @ariniaina post about the solutions she use for updating from her mobile phone [fr])
- moreover, a lot of the organisations attending Enjoy 2010 have their own website, some even have an official facebook fan page; see? we aren’t that “disconnected”. But when we look at those websites or fan pages, guess what? Almost nothing about Enjoy 2010 is published. Guys, don’t do it because it’s “in and fashionable”, use it as a core element of your communication tool – which media gives you detailed infos about your “followers” than the internet? Please go beyond the “have you seen the article on …”, we all know that one article can’t fit-it-all, on the internet, you can decide to write a whole article on one single topic, then write another – people would read and even give you feedback, they will even help you spread the word and share it with their friends and followers.
- I’m almost sure that internet providers are happy to provide WI-FI connection inside FUTURA exhibition park – this has already been done for previous exhibitions. This means that you could bring your own laptop and post on the internet whatever is worth spreading.
So guess what would happen once you published something on the internet: there’s plenty of people ready to read/relay whatever you published – there’s plenty of Madagascar lovers out there who couldn’t make it to this event but who are willing to share it.
Anyway, from the small portions of published elements I could grab from the internet (hey, here I’m playing the role of the guy who couldn’t make to the event and who tries to catch-up via the internet- which most of us do), I’ve read that
- “there’s 120 certified guide in #Madagascar” – if published on twitter (read it on orange.mg today), I’m pretty sure it won’t take hours for it to spread like fire on the internet,
- or even better: the Tourism minister announcement that “the free-visa fee for a stay less than 30 days is maintained for the next season” is just a scoop that you can share with other people – giving you (and Madagascar) visibility.
Guys, you’ve decided to be dumb (online-speaking) for this event, please don’t be deaf to suggestions coming from other people. We all want to use any available promotion tool so as to get people visit Madagascar. Don’t take it personally- being controversial also helps having my voice heard. Feel free to give your feedback/suggestions on the comment section below (either by using your facebook comment so that your facebook friends are aware of what you said, or via the usual comment section); or tweet it so as to bring the conversation to twitter (BTW, follow madafan on twitter; we also have a facebook fan page)